Just Who Can Send Us to War?

A legal dilemma pits the White House against Congress

For the Bush Administration, there are two tense face-offs in the Middle East crisis. The other one is in Washington. There the White House is skirmishing with congressional Democrats over a constitutional question: Can President Bush commit U.S. forces to combat without first gaining the consent of Congress?

Last week the debate intensified. "I do not believe that the President requires any additional authorization from the Congress," Defense Secretary Dick Cheney told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The President, as Commander in Chief . . . has the authority to commit U.S. forces."

Not so, answer the Democrats. By a vote...

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